star wars and black flag, what else needs to be said? two things that i love and that will always be in my life. originally these were some badly done black flag outlines(being 17 was cool), but erik jacobsen from idle hand tattoo(in san francisco)made this happen!
On a personal note, it’s sad how my feelings towards the Occupy Denver protesters have gone from ‘admiration’ to ‘apathetic’ to ‘appalled’ in the span of a month. My fears that this movement—at least locally—would spiral into chaos without a more defined agenda have seemingly come true by now. Even looking past the Denver Post’s bias in this story, I have a hard time thinking of a more deplorable way to ‘get back’ at the Mayor’s office for finally dismantling a structure that the police allowed to stand illegally for two months. So disappointed by this week’s developments.
I am both excited and insulted by the implications of this ruling. For those of you who don’t keep tabs on the state’s budget battles, here’s a key snippet (emphasis mine):
“There is not enough money in the system to permit school districts across the state to properly implement standards-based education and to meet the requirements of state law and regulation,” she wrote in her ruling. “This is true for districts of every description - rural, suburban, urban and those with small or large student populations.
Although there is some vindication in this ruling, and it’s nice to know a hometown Judge is in schools’ corner, what it implies should be a wake-up call for anyone who has a vested interest in public education (which ought to be everyone in the state). The litany of offenses is in the article, but if you’re in a hurry to see more pictures of puppies in your Tumblr feed, I’ll cut to the chase:
The state of Colorado has made excessive cuts to public ed as a result of hemmhoraging funds (which it shouldn’t have to)
The state’s Board of Education has not revised or lowered its own educational standards for students (which it also shouldn’t have to)
A judge ruled that this schism of funding and standards is irrational, even describing the disparity as “unconscionable”
In spite of this readily apparent contradiction, last month Colorado voters rejected a bill to help reduce—not even settle—this deficit by a margin of two-to-one
TL, DR: For years, my own governor, state-appointed lawyers and fellow taxpayers have all repeatedly told public educators to perform the same job with much less funding. Today a judge called bullshit on this request, which, to me, is a victory of the conscience, even if gets successfully appealed by state legislators. The ruling suggests that even if the widespread opinion is that teachers can/must do more with less than ever before, this demand is both immoral and illegal.
Op-Ed: I don’t think I’m asking for a lot. You won’t hear me demanding a raise, even if it would mean paying off my student loans before my fiftieth birthday. I don’t need to drive a Lexus to school everyday, or even take my girlfriend on the occasional vacation getaway. (Fun fact: due to pressure from district budget cuts, I’ve resisted the urge to take a sub day this entire school year!) I love my job and feel extremely fortunate to be given the opportunity to be reasonably compensated for something I am truly passionate about: improving the lives and minds of young people. I doubt my dedication to my profession would likely not be raised or lowered with my salary.
But for what seems like a long time, it seems like public opinion—both popular and official—has suggested that educators should just get used to the idea of doing more with less. I realize that is a common request in both the public and private sectors as our economy continues to rebuild itself. But this callous assumption to make something out of almost nothing is especially denigrating to people who are dedicating their livelihood toward educating your children.
I can only speak for myself, but if you ask this teacher what I really would like to make my job more tenable these days, it isn’t a pay increase or shorter work days. And it definitely isn’t more vacation days (everybody knows we come out way ahead on those). All I would like is adequate, equitable funding so that my fellow educators and I can spend more time teaching your kids instead of worrying about whether we’ll still have them next year. Is that asking too much?
The public education system is like a car’s transmission: you can’t fix it by just throwing money at it. But until you can afford to pay for the right parts (and smart people to repair it), don’t be surprised if it doesn’t make it over the next hill.